Eternal Security and οὐ μή
I was taught the doctrine of eternal security from a young age. “Once saved, always saved,” as it’s said. While I believed this doctrine, I had my doubts. I don’t remember why I doubted; I just remember not being completely sure about it. That changed when I attended Dallas Seminary.
It was Spring 2012. The class was Greek 102. The professor was Daniel B. Wallace. Wallace is a Greek juggernaut. That day he waxed eloquent on the Greek construction οὐ μή (pronounced “oo may”).
Oὐ μή is double negative. In English, οὐ μή literally means, “No not.” Double negatives don’t make sense in English, though. In Greek, they do. In Greek, the strongest way to deny the possibility of some reality would be to use οὐ μή. Let’s say your daughter really hates eating broccoli. So, she comments, “I never ever want to eat broccoli again!” In Greek, that “never ever” would be οὐ μή.
Oὐ μή occurs throughout Scripture. John uses it several times in his Gospel. He uses οὐ μή on numerous occasions when addressing the question of eternal security. John 10:38 is an example. Jesus says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never [οὐ μή] perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” What does this mean? Jesus denies the possibility that Christians (“them”) can lose their salvation (“eternal life”) by using the strongest language available in the Greek language (οὐ μή). This isn’t the only passage where John uses οὐ μή to teach eternal security. See also John 4:14, 6:35; 6:37, and 11:26.
So, can you lose your salvation? Absolutely not! Pastor Chance